Left 4 Dead 2 on PC is open to fan modification. Indeed, it's encouraged by Valve, who not only released the tools to enable gamers to do so, but even pledged to promote one user-created map each week for the foreseeable future. One such mod is 'Cold Stream' – a fan-made campaign set in a forest that's been picked up by Valve who have officially released it on PC after months in open Beta as a free download. As a first for Xbox 360, this very same fan-made content is coming to Xbox 360 on Friday.
For 560 MS Points.
Above: The Cold Stream campaign is not officially canon to
the Left 4 Dead storyline, but at least it's officially being published by Valve. A seal of approval if ever there was one
560 MS Points may be a nominal amount, but it is a price 'in money' for
something PC owners can already get for free. We would admittedly rather
have to pay for the content than not have it at all (as Left 4 Dead is
ace), but it does seem a bit unfair.
But is it? Double Fine's Tim Schafer famously went on the record to say it costs $40,000 just to release a patch for a game on Xbox Live (as well as having to jump through a load of hoops). But perhaps the most telling story is that of Valve itself, who famously said that all of their first party DLC would be free back in 2009. Left 4 Dead's first DLC was indeed free, but the second pack was not. Valve's Chet Faliszek said at the time:
"We own our platform, Steam. Microsoft owns their platform. They wanted to make sure there's an economy of value there." When pressed about whether Microsoft effectively enforced the pricing, he added: "Well, they helped us get the first one out for free. We had the one DLC out for free. And I think... they have to look and say, wow, we're kind of being unfair to everybody else if these guys can do that.
So it's more likely a case of Microsoft wanting people to pay for DLC on their service than Xbox owners getting a bum deal from Valve. Fair enough, of course - XBLA is not a charity. And besides, you won't just get the Cold Stream campaign for your money. You also get ports of four campaigns from the original Left 4 Dead – namely Crash Course, Death Toll, Dead Air and Blood Harvest, plus the ability to use all the mutations in multiplayer.
Above: You do need to own 'The Passing' DLC if you're playing on Xbox to access Mutations
If you're still grumpy and wondering why it's also hitting 360 a week later than the PC and Mac versions, it's due to the 'title update' for L4D2 that's coming at the same time. Apparently it took longer than anticipated to get that through Microsoft's certification process, and the DLC won't work without the update. It's a whole other world that we're pleased we don't have to worry about - we can just play the results. Even if it is for 560 MS Points.
Let us know what you think in the comments.